Differences in laboratory findings for cerebrospinal fluid specimens obtained from patients with meningitis or encephalitis due to herpes simplex vires (HSV) documented by detection of HSV DNA

Jeffry P. Simko, Angela M. Caliendo, Kay Hogle, James Versalovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

Laboratory findings for cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) specimens were correlated with clinical presentations and histories in 55 cases of encephalitis or meningitis due to herpes simplex virus (HSV), as determined by polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based detection of HSV DNA. Sixteen patients (29%) had HSV encephalitis (HSVE), 3 had mild or "atypical" meningoencephalitis, 34 (64%) had HSV meningitis (HSVM), and 1 had disseminated neonatal HSV infection. CSF findings included elevated leukocyte counts and/or elevated CSF protein levels in all HIV DNA-positive specimens. CSF leukocyte and protein abnormalities were more pronounced in cases of HSVM than they are in cases of HSVE. Patients with HSVE who had only mild CSF abnormalities also had minimal numbers of erythrocytes in the CSF. Patients with HSVM were younger than were patients with HSVE and were predominantly female. Eleven patients with HSVM reported having prior episodes, and 5 reported a history of recurrent headaches. These findings suggest that milder forms of HSV infection of the central nervous system may be identified by PCR for HSV. Prescreening of CSF specimens for the presence of leukocytes or elevated protein level may improve test utilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)414-419
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Volume35
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 15 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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